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Album Cover Anton Barbeau - Antology vol. 1 (Lost Arts)

No, before you ask, it's not a misspelling, but rather a pun, and not a collection of greatest hits, but in fact a collection of demos. Anton Barbeau is a character subject to many misgivings. Not a French talk show host or brand of cheese (though there are similarities), Barbeau is actually a bespectacled Californian.

"Antology" is a collection of Barbeau's demo reel over the past four years and a brave endeavour clocking in at over 70 minutes. Though this album has the initial feel of garage/basement rock, it transcends the likes of Ash or Weezer with its tongue in cheek factor. "A girl like that treating me like this/ better hope I miss when I try to run her over" ('A girl like that').

Vocally, Barbeau is all over the place, sounding at times like Buddy Holly on speed or Elvis Costello. He ranges from the normal to the falsetto, the baritone to the squeak factor. "Antology" is chaotic yet completely focused; quirky yet heartfelt; complex but simple: in some ways the perfect pop album.

Fuzzy throwaway choruses one minute ('Whippy Diane') and atmospheric expressions of ardour the next ('Surfboard Song', 'No More Love Guitars') "Antology's" length gives it the chance to prove cynics wrong and develop its sound with each track.

Heavily guitar-based at moments, this is the geeks laughing in the face of cock rockers. But it's more than just catchy chord sequences, it's laid back reggae beats ('The Battle of Anna K') and bum wiggling anthems ('Sula'), it's revamped jangly British rock ('Land of Economy'), it's affinity with a house hold appliance ('Nobody Adores a Vacuum').

Brilliant, intelligent, hilarious… It's all been said about Anton Barbeau and it's all true. Get your hands on this.

by Anne-Louise Foley